Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Break Birdwatching, Mountain View, NC

 We were greeted in NC by Blue Jays

 And the South's friendliest Mockingbird
 And the waxing Christmas moon
Along with various flightless waterfowl...heh...
 Feathered friends from Canada, eh!

And the occasional flying Hippo!
Along with Cardinals, of course
We saw this Red-shouldered Hawk on Christmas Day!

 Full Moon

 Moon Ring

 Cardinals everywhere!

Red-bellied Kibble thief

 A bad influence on the sparrows...
Mourning Doves

Male House finch
 Gold Finch
 Female House Finch
Dining together
 Tufted Titmice

 And Carolina Chickadees

As well as the Occasional Bovid!

Lord Protector of said Bovids
And, finally, another, ginormous red-shouldered hawk!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Past Present Future?

As we struggle to make sense of this embattled world, a world of excess and absence, of dearth and net worth, it is good to be reminded of that ancient night, that troubled world, in which the strange silence that had enveloped us...the sense that God had turned the divine face from us...was shattered forever more, not by shock and awe, but by the bleating cry of a newborn babe. Here are some reflections I wrote many years ago...alas, they seem just as relevant this night. Peace be with you, my friends.

It is a season of silent expectation—
Shepherds, shivering in the night,
await the coming of the messiah
Adonai has promised them.
It is a season of ancient prophecy—
Magi, bearing royal gifts,
follow the light of a new-born star
to David’s city, Bethlehem.
It is a season of two-edged terror—
Herod, obsessed with usurpers,
has words of scripture on his mind
and thoughts of murder in his heart.
It is a season of great gladness—
Angels, foretold of the coming birth,
can hardly keep from singing to God
new-written songs of praise and love. 
It is a season of heavenly peace—
Carry Christ-like reconciliation
with you into our embattled world.
It is a season of much rejoicing—
Our Redeemer this day is born!

Mike & Dana Rhyne
Christmas 1994

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tiffany Angels

My university has been hosting these gorgeous fully restored Louis Comfort Tiffany windows for some weeks now. Soon they will be packed up and shipped south, to Alabama and then on to Texas. They are breathtaking!

Each angel represents an Asia Minor church mentioned in the Revelation of John







Let's study Pergamos up close:
 Without the "light box" effect
 As Tiffany would have seen him in the shop?
 The magnificent glass stone, clutched in his hand
 And now with back lighting, no flash
 Back-lit, subtle flash, the stone glowing in hand

And yet, for all his splendor, Pergamos must yield, for my heart belongs to Ephesus:

The loveliness of her face...

The magnificent Tiffany drapery class cowl...

For more on these treasures, including how they came to be commissioned, why their church was torn down, and how they survived precariously in storage for four decades, click here!